Module Information

Module Identifier
IP26320
Module Title
Contemporary Security: Theories & Threats
Academic Year
2017/2018
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 8 x 1 Hour Seminars
Lecture 18 x 1 Hour Lectures
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word Policy Report  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word Policy Report  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Identify and evaluate the principal debates about conceptualising security.
2. Demonstrate knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the competing approaches to security.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the utility of theory in understanding security.
4. Discuss the security challenges facing the international community.
5. Evaluate the reasons for labelling an issue a security threat.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the dangers of labelling an issue a security threat.
7. Assess the current and potential future responses to current security threats.

Brief description

The module provides an introduction to the debates on security in international relations. It examines the concept, role and making of security in the 21st century. It examines the main theoretical approaches and conceptualizations used in security studies and analyses a range of important challenges that have been framed as security threats. The module is in two parts. The first part examines and debates a range of competing theories and conceptualisations of security. This part explores the different meanings of the term ‘security’ and whose security we can talk about. The second part of the module examines contemporary security threats, challenges and risks with implications for international politics. Students are encouraged to critically reflect on how security is framed and studied and why certain issues emerge as security concerns.

Content

• Traditional approaches to security studies
• Critical approaches to security studies
• Traditional security threats and challenges
• ‘New’ security threats and challenges

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will engage with statistics through an examination of opinion polls and survey data, security and government spending data, and data related to the prevalence of security threats.
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. This is facilitated by group-role play based on teams operating within and beyond the seminar environment.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convener and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their report and essay topics. Group work is integral to the seminars and provides opportunities for students to reflect individually and collectively on their performance. The need to contribute to the group discussions in seminars and to meet an assessment deadlines will focus students’ attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Lexus-Nexus, Primo, Google Scholar etc). Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the AberLearn Blackboard. Finally, they will learn to navigate through relevant online sources such as NGO, IO and Governmental websites as well as ‘think tanks’.
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students’ verbal and presentation and team-working skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a report, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards students’ portfolio of transferable skills. In particular, report writing is an essential transferable skill contributing to their employability profile.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of written assignments will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable students to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to identify appropriate sources of both primary and secondary source information and to use them appropriately, understanding their relevant strengths and weaknesses. In particular, research for their policy reports will require careful gathering of data and information, the judicious use of such material in support of a particular set of recommendations. Using and analysing primary sources material will provide a particular set of information literacy skills.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module • Ability to evaluate competing perspectives • Demonstrate subject specific research techniques • Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and political problems.
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small group work and role-playing activities where students will be obliged to prepare, present and discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module learning experience.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 5